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BRAN NUE DAE - World Premiere, Closing Night Film

MELBOURNE 20 MAY 2009 – The 58th Melbourne International Film Festival is pleased to announce that two stand-out Australian films will open and close this year‟s festival. The Melbourne International Film Festival Premiere Fund titles will present their World Premieres to eager MIFF audiences. "In only the second year of our film fund we are proud to be positioning the entire festival between the bookends of two new and very diverse Australian features. We open on a serious political note and will close in a riotous excess of colour and movement" said MIFF Executive Director Richard Moore.

Coinciding with the 10 year anniversary celebrations of East Timor's Independence in 1999, MIFF will open with the political thriller, Balibo, at Hamer Hall on Friday 24 July. Director Robert Connolly (The Bank, Three Dollars) brings to life the moving and true story of five Australian journalists who go to East Timor in 1975 to cover Indonesia‟s invasion. Their story is told through the eyes of a sixth Australian journalist, Roger East, who is lured to East Timor by José Ramos-Horta, to investigate the truth behind the death of the five men. Balibo features stand-out performances by Anthony LaPaglia, Damon Gameau, Gyton Grantley and Nathan Phillips among a large ensemble cast. "Having the World Premiere of Balibo in my home town and as opening night at MIFF is a terrific honour. It's also an important opportunity to celebrate the resilience of the East Timorese in seeking independence, and the important role played here in Victoria by the families of the Balibo Five who championed the East Timorese cause over so many years" said Robert Connolly.

Director Rachel Perkins’ (Radiance, First Australians) all singing all dancing music spectacular Bran Nue Dae will close the festival with a Gala event on Saturday 8th August (festival will screen encore sessions on Sunday 9th August). The film, based on the popular comedic musical of the same name, features a stella cast including Geoffrey Rush, Ernie Dingo, Missy Higgins, Deb Mailman, Nigali Lawford, Tom Budge, Dan Sultan and Jessica Mauboy. "MIFF was an early partner in realizing Bran Nue Dae and t heir early investment meant we could go out into the market and confidently say „this film is going to happen!‟ Their contribution continued through assistance with industry networking, advice and clear and concise feedback during the progress of editing. MIFF has been a true partner in realizing our film and we are delighted to be able to close the festival on a high note, with a celebratory film like Bran Nue Dae" said Rachel Perkins.

The 2009 festival will screen almost 300 films from world-class festivals, including Cannes, Sundance, Rotterdam, Berlin and Toronto Festivals. The programme will feature the work of world-renowned filmmakers, and more than a couple of unknown gems, in its popular Homegrown presented by the Commonwealth Bank, and Neighbourhood Watch, International Panorama, Backbeat, Animation Gallery, Next Gen and Documentaries series. MIFF also hosts the most highly regarded short film competition in the Asia Pacific - Best MIFF shorts screens approximately 100 short films, competing for a prize money of AUD$35,000.

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Anthony LaPaglia as Roger East in Balibo.
Anthony LaPaglia as Roger East in Balibo.

A tense political thriller, Balibo recreates events surrounding the shooting of five Australian journalists during Indonesia's invasion of East Timor in 1975. BALIBO is told through the eyes of a sixth Australian, Roger East, who is lured to East Timor by Jose Ramos-Horta to investigate the truth behind the death of the five men, who were supposedly "caught in cross-fire" during the invasion. read also Balibo film clip trailers, etc...

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